Ipswich rider's tribute to movie idol

NIGEL Flatman today paid tribute to his friend Hollywood actor Heath Ledger, as he comes to terms with the movie star's shock death.The former Ipswich Witches rider also said his recent meeting with the Australian actor brought back memories of the death of his former teammate Billy Sanders in 1985.

Elvin King

NIGEL Flatman today paid tribute to his friend Hollywood actor Heath Ledger, as he comes to terms with the movie star's shock death.

The former Ipswich Witches rider also said his recent meeting with the Australian actor brought back memories of the death of his former teammate Billy Sanders in 1985.

Flatman is now running a successful limousine business in Perth, Western Australia - the home of Ledger, who was found dead at the age of 28 in New York last week.


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Flatman had known Ledger since his was a child.

“We shared a long conservation on his arrival back to Perth a couple of weeks or so ago,” said Flatman.

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“It was an excellent chat, and he was a great friendly guy who I got to know well.

“His death has really hit home hard - particularly when you have known someone for 16 years.

“And it brought back memories of Billy Sanders - as I was one of the last people to speak to him before his death.”

Sanders, a Witches star and big favourite with Ipswich speedway fans, was a team mate during Flatman's years as a Witch at Foxhall Stadium.

The Australian committed suicide near Nacton when he gassed himself in his car at the age of 29.

“I feel a bit jinxed,” added Flatman, who used to be dubbed the Felixstowe Flyer during his riding days.

Now in his late forties, Flatman rode for Ipswich and Peterborough - plus one part season with Poole - from 1977 until 1991.

Flatman has been running a limousine business for the last 12 years and now has four cars with a regular clientele he picks up from the main Perth airport.

Apart from regular customer Ledger he has also recently driven for Black Eyed Peas and former Miss World Jennifer Hawkins.

All his cars have Ipswich Town stickers on the windows.

“I get a lot of stick about that from my clients,” he said.

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